NEW DELHI: Only institutions that have had a hospital functioning for at least three years will now be allowed to start MBBS courses and open medical colleges, the medical education regulator has now ruled.
Senior officials in the Medical Council of India-Board of Governor (MCI-BOG) told this newspaper that the norm was in place until 2011, but was relaxed that year in order to help private colleges, which mostly start offering degrees first and then establish hospitals.
“It was, however, seen that many private institutes started offering MBBS degrees while also opening hospitals around the same time, and these hospitals were there only in name,” an official in the MCI-BOG said. The decision to alter the norm was taken in consultation with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently in order to ensure “quality” clinical exposure to medics. At present, a medical college with 100 MBBS seats is required to have a hospital with at least 300 beds.
Government data shows that nearly 40 of around 90 medical colleges which got permission to operate since 2011 were denied renewals later following inspections, mainly because the hospitals attached with them were grossly inadequate on several counts. A senior member of the previous MCI board, which was superseded by the current MCI-BOG last year, said that the body had repeatedly asked the health ministry for permission to make the changes due to complaints piling up against many private medical colleges that had hospitals only “on paper”.
“We had been writing to the government saying that the MBBS students need quality clinical teaching, and therefore only well-established medical institutions should be permitted to run colleges, but the government’s contention was that in order to have more MBBS seats on offer every year, some rules would be required to be eased,” he said, requesting anonymity.
"Now that a new MBBS syllabus that emphasizes more on hands-on practice for students and clinical, behavioural training, has been adopted, the government has been forced to reinstate a policy and it is a good move.”